To Boldly Go . . .
A newly diagnosed friend recently asked me for tips on living with diabetes. While watching a rerun of a science fiction movie, I made a sudden, stunning realization: All I know about diabetes I learned from watching Star Trek.
Hailing frequencies open: Make sure that you communicate your needs to other significant folks in your life: coworkers, friends, family. Also make sure that you are receiving incoming calls by gathering information, signing up for newsletters, getting a subscription to Diabetes Forecast, and googling—a lot! Don't let diabetes information be an alien to you. Information is a powerful weapon.
Fire phasers: After you gather information, use it. Make exercise plans and stick to them, take your meds as directed, and watch what you eat. Fight the disease.
Boldly go where no one has gone before: Watch for new treatments, drugs, and diabetes advice. With your doctor's approval (I'm a doctor, not a mechanic!), don't be afraid to try new treatments, out-of-this-world meal plans, futuristic medications, and alien insulin regimes. If your doctor suggests insulin instead of pills or an insulin pump instead of shots, do it.
Beam me up, Scotty: Sometimes you just need to get yourself out of your current situation. Call for help. Ask your health team to help you lower your A1C. Tell your friends when you need help with a low. Depression can be a real problem for people with diabetes, so ask for help.
Don't wear a red shirt: The guys in the red shirts on Star Trek always got knocked off first. Don't make yourself a target (unless, of course, you're a Red Rider in Tour de Cure® or a Red Strider in Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes®—then red is life-enhancing). Do everything you can to improve your health. Keep your A1C below 7. Test your blood sugar. Take your meds. Take a short walk rather than eat potato chips. Be the captain of your future.
Be logical: Diabetes is not about denial. It is about moderation in all things. Have a bite or two of cake—not the whole cake. Choose a salad instead of fries (but do be enterprising enough to steal a fry or two from a friend).
Go trekking: Space may be the final frontier, but it is not the only one. Take a walk or explore a park in your area. Stroll around during breaks at work. Get out and find new healthy places to eat.
Live long and prosper: Do all the things that Diabetes Forecast encourages: Exercise, eat right, test your blood sugar. Take time to do some "nondiabetic" things such as read, play games, or take a nap. Live a long, happy, prosperous life.
Anne-Marie Mills has had type 1 for 41 years and uses an insulin pump. She is a business services coordinator at UNC Charlotte Urban Institute in Charlotte, N.C., and, yes, a Star Trek fan.
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